Thu. Mar 4th, 2021

And it’s the damage that we do
And never know
It’s the words that we don’t say
That scare me so

Accidents will happen
We only hit and run

Elvis Costello and the Attractions – Accidents Will Happen

As reviews of forthcoming games go, Yorkshire Carnegie’s assessment of Cov’s season thus far isn’t the most flattering, to say the least:

Carnegie will be aiming to claim their first win of the season when they take on Rowland Winter’s team. The visitors come into the game in fifth place in the league. They started the campaign with defeat to Jersey Reds on the road, Rory Jennings scoring the only points for the visitors with five penalties to claim a losing bonus point. They followed this up with a 26-19 home win over Bedford, thanks to late try from Tom Kessell.

And that it. That pretty much the whole pre-match review.

Carnegie Pre-match Review

Thank goodness for John Butler.

…Rory Jennings scoring the ‘only points for the visitors‘ away to Jersey in a game which actually  went to the wire  with the home side hanging on in the final minutes of the game. But read the review and it sounds a pretty insipid performance from Cov.

And then Kessell scoring a ‘late try‘ against Bedford to give the impression that perhaps Bedford were in some way unlucky not to come away with the points when the game was still tied, even before Cov scored.

Nothing about the club, or a first, successful, season in the Championship or the aspirations that Cov might have.

Or even a welcome to the supporters.

All a bit matter-of-fact really.

Brusque and to the point.

But for a club in dire financial straights, well it’s hardly going to generate the kind of interest in a game where they must surely be hoping for a decent sized crowd, especially if they’re lookinig to increase the attendances which are rather on the low side at present. There were just 750 present for their first Championship game against Bedford.

A bit dismissive of Cov too really, given the achievements the club has enjoyed on and off the pitch over the last couple of season.. although in fairness Cov supporters haven’t exactly warmed to Carnegie over the last few months either on various social media platforms.

I’ve been up to Leeds a fair few times to watch Cov and have yet to see them come away with a win. On one memorable occasion the Supporters’ coach travelled up in the depths of Winter only for us to arrive at the ground to find it under several inches of snow with no chance of the game taking place whatsoever.

And then there was the game where Wendell Sailor, the Australian dual code international, took us apart. Frightening it was.

And last season we threw the game away immediately after half time when we conceded a couple of tries and from then on were always playing catch up.

This time though, surely, Cov have to go into the game as odds-on favourites. Carnegie have had to build a squad from scratch, had no pre-season to speak off and have lost their opening 5 games, conceding 264 points whilst scoring just 63.

A points difference then of a mere -201.

By comparison, in their last 5 games Cov have a points difference of +36.

And away against Ampthill last weekend, Carnegie lost 53 – 22 whilst in September in a Cup game away to the same opposition, Cov won 17-47.

2019 table

As I said, odds-on favourites.

But in recent seasons Cov have struggled to really take advantage of the weaker teams in their league. often saving the best performances for the stronger sides. Two seasons ago away to Darlington, home to Irish and away to Jersey last season, and already against Ealing this season.

Compare those games to the away performances last season against Hartpury, Richmond and London Scottish.

This is Cov – take nothing for granted. Banana skins…

And there are signs, too, that Carnegie are beginning to settle as a squad, scoring a couple of useful tries  against Ampthill and keeping the game tight for much of the first half. The highlights of the Ampthill game (see below) show they are more than capable of causing us problems, especially when they run from deep. That said, if Cov can play the game in their half, defensively Carnegie looked poor and appeared incapable of stopping Ampthill from within 5m of their own line.

I’m certainly going up there with in the hope that Cov are going to win and win big, but I’ve been watching Cov  far too long to travel in great expectation. Despite wins against Jersey and Doncaster at the back end of last season, Cov don’t travel well and their performance against Jersey a couple of weeks ago wasn’t the most encouraging either.

Hope then by the barrel load.

But a little less expectation.

Rowland Winter hinted on the radio that it would be near enough the same match day squad as last week with just one player coming in. Maybe Halaifonua? He’s was at the ground last week and has had a chance to acclimatise once again. With the Bulumakaus out for some time, options out wide are pretty limited so he would be a really useful addition to the traveling 23.

That said, someone on the MB made the suggestion that it could be George Oram for Nile Dacres…a good shout that given that Dacres has played 3 on the bounce and all of them for the full 80 minutes (I think?)…

I imagine we might see some of last week’s bench starting – any of Trinder, Denman, Nayalo, Wallace and Kessell might  well get the nod, with Jennings reverting to 10 even though Will Maisey had a strong game at fly half last week. If Big Dave H is fit and in the squad, I’d be tempted to move Knox back into the centre, put Halaifonua on the wing and let Jennings start at 10. However, with Ealing away the week after, it might well be that RW wants his big guns available then and is happy to keep some of his powder dry this weekend against opposition which should prove rather less of a test.

If this is the case, then expect rather few changes.

At least RW and Nick Walshe do have a few more options this week, especially behind the scrum, which is more than could be said for the Bedford game.

The highlights from the Ampthill v Carnegie – the two teams that already look most likely to be fighting for survival at the foot of the table at the end of the season – are well worth a watch. First blood to Ampthill, but there were moments in the game when Leeds looked dangerous, with former Cov full back Tim Bitirim making one searing break that lead to a try for the visitors.

Cov should win by a good 20 points but I shall be a little nervous travelling up to Leeds. Jersey was a game that we could have won but it was always going to be a tough ask. Sunday’s match-up looks a fiver point if ever there was one.

On paper YC must be the poorest opposition we’ll have played thus far in the Championship.

giphy1On paper.

And we should be the scissors to cut through any threat they might offer.

Let’s hope they don’t actually turn out to be the rock.

 

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If John Coles goes up with Cov to photograph Cov’s clash with Newcastle, I bags first dibs on the ‘Coles to Newcastle’ tagline…

For anyone new to the blog, John is one of the photographers at match days, mostly at home and onsome away days, although he often has other commitments which mean he isn’t always able to get to as many games as he would like.

Whilst I am a snapper, John is a professional in every sense of the word and his quality photos capture the moments in the game that either we miss or wish we were able to hold in our heads with any real clarity for longer than the briefest of moments.

I’m pleased to say, John was at Cov on Saturday and delighted that he sent me a link to his photos of the game,  happy for me to use them in the blog.

So here, then, are a few of his photos from last Saturday.

team
Phil Boulton leads the Cov squad past the Cov faithful minutes before kick off. The wall of noise motivates the Cov players almost as much as it intimidates the opposition

(A footnote to the above – when we were in Jersey, RW asked Cov supporters to group together near the players tunnel rather than spread themselves around the ground).

Knox1Knox2Kesselltry

Kesselltry1
Knox’s powerful run that led to the series of scrums and eventually to Kessell’s try. In the 3rd photo the referee has already signalled Cov have an advantage

 

Final kick
Maisey’s conversion of Kessell’s try. Tolmie clearly enjoying the moment, too! One of the few times the players have the luxury of not having to return to the half way line.

 

Timble disallowed
From one of the scrums in those final moments, Cov had almost scored as the ball went left and Trimble almost went over for his hatrick. Sadly as this photo clearly shows, he was forced into touch inches short

Dacres 2Dacres 3

Dacres 4
The referee indicates the pass has gone forward following Nile Dacres lengthy break in the first half – 35 metres perhaps? White was well placed on his shoulder and might well have scored had the pass been a little more accurate

Maisey 1Maisey2

Maisey3
A bit of Maisey magic as he somehow weaves his way through the Bedford midfield and dots down under the posts unopposed. He clearly enjoyed that. Will is a silky smooth runner when he gets a bit of space…
Celebration1
Jack Ram looks like he quite enjoyed it too
Clear out
Great photo, this one – Gibbons and Peters clear out the Bedford player, allowing White clear access to the ball that Voss has set up. Text book.
Kesselltry
I’ve repeated this photo just to show how empty the last couple of blocks in the main stand were. Sitting pretty centrally, you get the impression the stand is near full but even with 2100 plus, there’s still actually plenty of room
Blackman1
BBC Coventry and Warwickshire radio presenter Alec Blackman teeing up at half time. He’s certainly got the all the right kit…not sure Rory Jennings need have too many sleepless nights though

Many thanks for allowing me to use them in the blog, John!

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Accidents do sometimes happens…

…like treading on a banana skin

But not on Sunday. Cov to win at a canter.

And besides, suggesting accidents do sometimes happen gives me an excuse to include Costello – he’s long overdue another appearance.

 

 

By Tim

2 thought on “Yorkshire Carnegie on Sunday – rock, paper, scissors…Coles to Coventry”
  1. Thanks, Richy, and thanks for leaving the comment too. Totally agree…there are no gimmees in this league but a visit to YC so early on in the season has to be as close as you can get. Cov need to put down a marker tomorrow – there have been some odd results already this round so here’s a chance to make some ground on the top 2 teams before the trip to Ealing next week – although they’ve struggled a little in their games so far.

    ‘Green Shirt’ contains one of my favourite Costello lines: ‘There’s a shorthand typist taking seconds over minutes.’ For my 50th my wife commissioned an oil painting of him which sits proudly above the computer as I type. Legend,

  2. Great post Tim.

    Surely Cov have to have the courage of they’re convictions and target this game to build a points difference. That’s difficult to say giving Carnegie any respect.

    It would be good for our blood pressures to see Cov play like the top 6 side they are and put in a dominant performance.

    Clearly a Costello fan. same here.

    There is a bright young woman on a light blue screen who comes into my life, every day.

Any thoughts:

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